Child labourers are calling for support “to better address family poverty to ensure that their parents and caregivers have access to decent work, good livelihoods, services, and assistance,” according to the “Time to Talk” study, a global consultation of over 1,800 children from 36 countries that are currently or were previously involved in child labour.
The main findings of this landmark study were presented at the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where it was the only child participation element in this international event. The ECLT Foundation strongly supports children’s legal right to be consulted about matters that affect them. The Foundation is proud to have participated in the study through projects in Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania.
“Working children usually are not asked about their perspectives, their reasons and dreams although participation of children is a right to every child.” said Anne Jacob, child rights expert of the Kindernothilfe and project manager of the Time to Talk campaign.
While children strongly condemned exploitative, harmful and dangerous work, according to the study, they also saw positive aspects of employment when it does not interfere with their education and allows them to learn skills for their future. This supports a nuanced approach to tackling child labour and promoting decent work, which goes beyond blanket prohibition of all employment activities. Vocational training and apprenticeship programmes are essential tools that allow children of legal working age to gain professional skills in a safe and supervised environment.
Taking children’s views into account is a priority in shaping programmatic work on the ground and strengthening policy at national and international levels. The ECLT Foundation remains committed to bringing all actors together, including children themselves, to develop collaborative, sustainable solutions to fight child labour in agricultural communities where tobacco is grown.